You don’t have to break into a run or spend hours lifting weights to do your body a good workout. Yoga, which is estimated to go back 5,000 years, is relaxing, diverse and gadgetless—but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s easy or sweat-free.
According to this online fat-burning calculator  provided by Glamour magazine , one hour of this activity will burn about 160 calories in a 135-pound individual.
Yoga’s benefits extend to the fresh-faced young adult and senior citizens alike. (In 2008, a study by Yoga Journal found that nearly 20 percent of new yoga practitioners are over the age of 55!) Here are my top reasons for taking on a yoga practice (calorie-burning effects aside!):
- From hatha yoga—consisting of simple and relaxing postures as well as meditations and breathing exercises—to bikram “hot yoga” (as in, greater than 100-degrees-Fahrenheit hot!), there are options for beginners and more advanced aspiring yogis. Doctors recommend yoga a lot because it’s not intimidating to the beginner.
- It has been found to reduce chronic back ailments.
- It can improve your mood and how well you sleep.
- It can improve flexibility through stretching poses known as asanas.
- Not ready for a headstand? That’s okay! Even the basic poses such as the Plank Pose can improve core strength and muscle tone.
- By focusing on breathing techniques and focusing on the moment, yoga can increase your well-being and your ability to take on life’s challenges.
- Yoga improves your balance and posture, which become increasingly important as you age.
- You can find classes at your local Y as well as at specialized studios.
Best of all, yoga is good for the heart—it’s been found to lower the symptoms of heart disease.
Above is a photo of yoga expert, Rodney Yee and myself from the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel, California. We were two of the experts along with Oprah’s past chef, Art Smith, working with Nestle for a group of sweepstake winners. It was an amazing experience and Rodney has a voice that is so calming. I had just lost my mother to cancer 3 weeks before the event and found out I was pregnant about two weeks before the trip- it was wonderful to get to spend a little time with him. I was also lucky enough to take a class with the Yoga great!
Do you practice yoga? How has it helped you, and what is your favorite pose?